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World Rugby U20 Championship semi finals round up

The World Rugby U20 Championship Semi Finals day saw the main semi finals, the 5th place play off semi finals, and the 9th place semi finals all take place.

The way the competition works means that every team that entered the tournament receives a final position from 1-12, and is guaranteed five games through the competition.

Main Semi Finals

The main semi finals saw New Zealand, who topped Pool C, face Pool A toppers France, while the other game saw Pool B winners South Africa face back to back champions England, who qualified from Pool A as the best runners up.

New Zealand v France was the first game up, and while we have seen France upset New Zealand at global knockout competition before, that was not on the menu today. France did take the lead but then a New Zealand masterclass, led by Tevita Li and Akira Ioane, saw the four time champions secure a 45-7 victory.

England meanwhile had the daunting prospect of facing the tournament favourites, and last year’s beaten finalists, South Africa. However the back to back champions found their form again at the perfect moment, outplaying an ill-disciplined South African side and securing a hugely impressive 28-13 victory.

England will play New Zealand in the final, with South Africa and France playing for third.

5th Place Semi Finals

The fight for fifth place saw Ireland, second in Pool C behind New Zealand, face Wales, 3rd in Pool A behind France and England, while Australia, second behind South Africa in Pool B, faced Scotland, third behind New Zealand and Ireland in Pool C.

Australia v Scotland was first up, and Scotland started this game knowing that no matter what happens, they are guaranteed their best ever U20 Championship finish. However they wanted more than that and went in at half time ahead.

Australia rallied at half time though to surge ahead, and while Scotland hit back late on, they were powerless to stop a 31-21 victory for Australia.

Wales v Ireland turned out to be arguably the most incredible game of the day. Wales led their near neighbours and closely matched rivals 22-0 at half time, a halfway scoreline that few would have predicted. Ireland rallied in the second half, keeping Wales scoreless, but could only narrow the gap to 22-12.

Wales will meet Australia for the 5th place play off, Scotland and Ireland will do battle for 7th.

9th Place Semi Finals

Argentina v Italy and Japan v Samoa were the two games here. Argentina were bottom of the pile in Pool C, with Italy bottom in Pool B, Japan were dead last in Pool A, while Samoa were the top seeds after a third place finish in Pool B.

Argentina must have been reeling at finishing bottom, especially after they nearly upset the Baby Blacks. It certainly showed as the routed the hosts Italy 46-5 to secure their place in the 9th place play off.

Japan sprung a shock against Samoa though, Japan had been thumped in all three pool games but beat the Pacific Islanders 29-12 to set up a game against Argentina.

Argentina play Japan for 9th, Italy and Samoa will meet to play for 11th.

Semi Final Results:

England 28-13 South Africa

New Zealand 45-7 France

Wales 22-12 Ireland (5th Place Semi)

Australia 31-21 Scotland (5th Place Semi)

Argentina 46-5 Italy (9th Place Semi)

Japan 29-12 Samoa (9th Place Semi)

Finals Day Fixtures (Saturday 20th June):

Italy v Samoa 11th Place Play off – 10.00

Argentina v Japan 9th Place Play off – 12.00

Ireland v Scotland 7th Place Play off – 14.00

Wales v Australia 5th Place Play off – 15.30

France v South Africa 3rd Place Play off – 17.30

England v New Zealand Final – 19.30

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